Sunday, August 10, 2008

Justice and Traffic

In my opinion, justice is the societal responsibility to make sure everyone has the opportunity to meet their needs. This does not mean that society has to meet everyone's needs, but they need to give them the opportunity to do it for themselves. If they are unable to meet basic needs on their own then society, out of mercy, might help them, but justice is giving everyone opportunity.

People's needs vary greatly, but the basic category of needs are the same for everyone: everyone needs food, shelter, warmth, a place to go to the bathroom, connection with others, basic health, a certain amount of pleasure, security, inner peace, and some respect. No one can be promised any of these things, but they can be assured that nothing would block them from receiving any of them.

Where I think our society has gone wrong is the decision to micro-manage rather than make the big decisions that would be good for everyone. A controversial example is traffic laws. We have a whole system of traffic, a combination of motorized vehicles, bikes and pedestrians, and everyone has to know the complex system or else people could be injured or die. If this system is to be safe at all, then it must be micromanaged carefully and with precision.

However, I wonder if a more rational and just decision would be to just make motorized vehicles over a certain weight illegal, except on personal property. We weren't meant to have two ton appendages to our body-- we just aren't careful enough. And the system as a whole is a failure. Simply because we allow large motorized vehicles, 43,000 people a year die in the U.S. And two and a half million people are injured per year. That's almost one percent of our population.

Micromanaging doesn't seem to work. We just spend more money and aggrivation trying to force people to follow a complex system that changes all the time. I don't think humanity is smart enough for all that.

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